Back in January we brought you word that development had started on a TV series providing a new back story for Psycho's Norman Bates. The suits at TV network A&E are obviously pleased with what they've been seeing in the meantime, because they've now ordered a full ten-episodes of Bates Motel from Universal, without bothering with the usual formality of a pilot.
What's the basis for A&E's suprising faith? In short, it's Carlton Cuse, who's installed himself at the Bates Motel as an executive producer. Cuse was co-showrunner of Lost with Damon Lindelof, and also co-wrote about a third of its episodes, so he knows how to handle the smooth production of a vast enterprise, but he also knows weird, which sounds like the right fit for a series that's apparently going for some sort of Twin Peaks vibe.
Anthony Cipriano wrote the script that kicked everything off, and the series will deal with the formative influences on the young Norman Bates - principally a bad time at the hands of his mother and her lover - that led him to start putting on a dress and stabbing motel guests.
It's not the first time we've been here: Mick Garris directed a TV movie prequel called Psycho IV: The Beginning in 1990. There was even a previous attempt at a TV series, also called Bates Motel, in 1987, although that would have been about a new psycho inheriting the Bates family business. The pilot for that is out there somewhere, starring Bud Cort, Lori Petty, and Kurt Paul in a torch-passing cameo as Norman.
Of the new series, A&E president Bob DeBitetto says, "We are proud to be partnering with Carlton Cuse and [co-executive producer] Kerry Ehrin on their thrilling re-invention of one of the most compelling characters in cinematic history. It's a provocative project from two of the best storytellers in the business, and we're looking forward to getting started."
The show will premiere next year, so the hunt for a new Norman starts now.